Friday, September 16, 2005

Rushing to Chai Vang judgement

I bet Frank Erickson regrets sending this missive off to the SPPP before having a chance to hear Chsi Vang testify in his own defense about why he shot 8 hunters, killing 6, in Wisconsin last fall.

Included in this less-than-brilliant letter is the following conclusion:

Many people see Vang as guilty and this trial as just a trivial formality. And if the jury thinks like that, then it is a trivial formality.

Had he waited just one day, Frank could have avoided an embarrassing case of "foot-in-mouth" disease.

I got a news flash for you Frank; Vang sees himself as guilty and said as much yesterday while being cross examined. It’s a long, but necessary excerpt:

Chai Soua Vang testified that after he was shot at, he removed his hunting scope as he turned and took aim at a diving Willers. Chai Soua Vang struck Willers in the neck with the second shot, leaving him temporarily paralyzed next to the only gun investigators recovered, other than Chai Soua Vang's.

Chai Soua Vang then described how, with deadly precision, he took aim at the scattering blaze orange-clad group of hunters.

Mark Roidt, who was ducking or raising his arm to cover his face, was hit in the left shoulder, and the bullet passed through his head, killing him.

Dennis Drew was struck in the stomach, mortally wounding him.

After shooting Hesebeck — who was scrambling for cover behind an ATV — in the arm, Chai Soua Vang testified he pursued Robert Crotteau and his son, Joseph. The two were sprinting north, before Robert Crotteau cut east and Joseph, yelling for help, went west.

Robert Crotteau was hit in the back of the neck, striking the spinal cord and killing him instantly when it passed through his brain.

Chai Soua Vang chased Joseph, who he said was "running pretty fast."

"I couldn't get a clear shot," he testified, adding that he ran to close the gap and fired repeatedly.

Joseph Crotteau could have survived three of the wounds he suffered, but the fourth and fatal shot was to the base of his neck and passed through his brain, Ramsey County Medical Examiner McGee testified earlier Thursday.

Continuing with his description of the shootings, Chai Soua Vang said while turning back to the south, he heard yelling. One of the hunters radioed for help, which quickly came. Chai Soua Vang testified he lay on the ground, watched them pass on an ATV and turned his reversible hunting coat from orange to camouflage.

The defendant watched, he said, as two people later identified as Brandon Willers and Carter Crotteau, with the help of an injured Hesebeck, loaded the wounded Willers onto an ATV and take him to a cabin.

Also answering the call for help were Alan Laski and Jessica Willers. They were shot off their ATV. Chai Soua Vang testified that Laski had a gun, but none was found.

While saying on the stand he wished "it wasn't happening," Chai Soua Vang contended that three of the hunters deserved to die.

"Why did Mr. Crotteau deserve to die?" [Wisconsin Attorney General Peg] Lautenschlager asked.

"Because he was the one who confronted me and called me names, and that's who he is," Chai Soua Vang replied.

Joseph Crotteau deserved to die "because he accused me of giving him the finger and tried to cut in front of me to stop me from leaving." And Laski deserved to die because he had a gun, he said.

OK, Frank. You tell me, do you think the bastard is guilty? Even if one concedes that he was treated harshly by the hunters, even if one concedes that a shot was fired in his direction, one cannot come to the conclusion that he acted in self-defense. Not when at least one of the victims was shot from behind and only one of the hunters was armed.

Sorry frank, Vang is guilty as sin and should spend the rest of his life rotting in a cold, damp cell.

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